Monday, 14 July 2014

Ships in the Oort Cloud, part 2

Last night I actually slept pretty good, and we only got woke by the baby once really. I say baby, but she's ten months old nearly, and looks less and less like a baby every day. Time flies...

I don't need to worry about relativity in the Oort Cloud setting (which, if I had to sum it up neatly I suppose you could call a hard sci-fi hack of Machinations of the Space Princess), as the ships will never reach anything like relativistic speeds. I've definitely made some assumptions about the kinds of ships that are being used, and some of them are kind of arbitrary, but why not?

I am tweaking numbers now really, to make sure that I have something which makes a simple kind of sense. Ships can't just have infinite fuel, so I have to put some bounds on that - and when you put a boundary on something that stacks and knocks over a whole series of other dominoes. How much does fuel cost? Is it available everywhere, or could PCs get essentially stranded when they dock at an asteroid and are told "Next shipment is due in two weeks"?

The more I think about writing my own games/hacks/etc, the more I appreciate just how skilled other people are who have a successful back catalogue. Over on False Machine, Patrick was talking about designing adventures (link to be added here later!) and a few points really stand out. The big one for me is that you have to write and write and write and then edit and pare back: and I think I agree with this broadly, even if what you are doing is writing and re-writing notes to then be combined. The really big point in Patrick's post though is the idea of information being chunked (my word not his) into single or double-page spreads; if things go over pages it disrupts the flow, it makes your ideas less accessible and could actually make things confusing.

Which is why I value this habit that is starting to fall into place; this little place on the internet is a way to just mull ideas over, and then collect them later.

I have my formulae (or formulas, whichever you prefer), so I'm going to get Open Office to spit out a table of travel times; which will then give me some ideas as to whether or not I am on the right track with distances and acceleration in the setting.

This has been a bit of a ramble, but to finish I'm going to flesh out a "popomatic" schema for ships (PCs will have something like this, but with some tweaks to the options; this is for a general ship encountered, not some ultra-fast fighter)

Popomatic Ships
d4 - Capacity - add 3 to get the number of berths on the ship; possibly a cargo rating as well... (needs thought)
d6 - Acceleration - use as indexing for 0.5g, 0.75g, 1g, 1.5g, 2g, 2.5g
d8 - Hull Strength - use in conjunction with MotSP armour tables
d10 - Manouverability - a rating that will have two effects: first in terms of turning ship for long distance travel (will have a positive or negative effect on travel time); second, for evasion in ship to ship combat
d12 - Weapons - after coming up with some options, use this to index them; mostly about strength of railguns etc
d20 - Range - still working this one out! The domino has not toppled yet...

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